Idiom of the Week: Quit Something Cold Turkey

Meaning: To suddenly, totally stop a bad habit, usually referring to an addiction.


I quit smoking cold turkey ten years ago and I haven’t had a cigarette since.

Some say the best way to quit drinking alcohol is cold turkey, but some say you need to drink less and less or else you’ll get very sick.

That’s it! No more Facebook! I’m quitting cold turkey!

Pop Quiz:

Which is a good example of quitting cold turkey?

A.  To decide to maybe quit drinking beer sometime in the future.

B.  To drink fewer and fewer cans of beer a week until you reach zero.

C.  To totally stop drinking beer right now.

To see the correct answer, click on “Continue reading”:

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November 2013 Student of the Month

We’re pleased to announce that our Student of the Month for November 2013 is Pei Ci Kuang. Amazingly, she attends four different classes: Class E2 with Evelyn, Movie Class with Janel, Computer Class with Brian, and Advanced Writing Class with June.

This is Pei Ci’s first year at University Settlement, but she’s already shown great progress. She recently attended parent-teacher conferences, and for the first time she was able to talk to her child’s teacher without an interpreter.

This fall Pei Ci also showed her improvement by reaching a higher level on the Best Plus test, which is an oral English test that all ESOL students in New York take. Way to go, Pei Ci!

Watch a video interview with Pei Ci above, read some of her writing below, then take the quiz to test your understanding!

My Autobiography

Pei Ci Kuang

Class E2

My name is Pei Ci Kuang. I am from China. I live in Manhattan. I live with my husband, daughter, and son. My family is sweet and harmonious. I have lived in New York for almost seven years.

I am a salesperson. I like my job because I can meet new people and it is a challenge. Every new season, I need to sell a lot of things to people, and when I sell out, I feel happy.

My family is small. I have two children. I like to watch TV and try new things and new food. I like New York because it has different cultures and different food.

But I need to take care of my children, cook for my family, and work. I don’t have much entertainment here. I really miss my sister and the food in my hometown.

I hope I can have a wonderful life: I can buy a house in New York, my daughter and son can go to a good school, I can get a great job, and I can earn a lot of money so my family’s life will be better and better.


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Idiom of the Week: Milk It For All It’s Worth

Meaning: To take full advantage of a situation or condition.


It’s his birthday today, and he’s milking it for all it’s worth: He’s having a party at work, another party with his family at home, and afterwards he’s going out with his friends.

She’s just a little sick, but she’s milking it for all it’s worth so she won’t have to come into work tomorrow.

They moved me up to first class, so I’m going to milk it for all it’s worth!


Pop Quiz:

If your brother were rich and famous, how would you milk it for all it’s worth?

A.  Ask him to invite you to all of his parties and stay at his house every vacation.

B.  Don’t talk to him ever again.

C.  Work hard and try to become rich and famous yourself.

To see the correct answer, click on “Continue reading”:

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The Gettysburg Address

On November 19, 1863, Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address, one of the most famous speeches in U.S. history. The speech was given at a ceremony to remember all of the soldiers that had been killed at the Battle of Gettysburg during the U.S. Civil War.

The speech is famous for being short and powerful. In fact, the speech was so short that the photographer at the ceremony didn’t even get a chance to take a photo of Lincoln as he was speaking – as you can see in the photo above, he only got a photo of him leaving the stage.

You can listen to and read the speech below:

The Gettysburg Address

November 19, 1863

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.





Hace ochenta y siete años, nuestros padres hicieron nacer en este continente una nueva nación concebida en la libertad y consagrada en el principio de que todas las personas son creadas iguales.

Ahora estamos empeñados en una gran guerra civil que pone a prueba si esta nación, o cualquier nación así concebida y así consagrada, puede perdurar en el tiempo. Estamos reunidos en un gran campo de batalla de esa guerra. Hemos venido a consagrar una porción de ese campo como lugar de último descanso para aquellos que dieron aquí sus vidas para que esta nación pudiera vivir. Es absolutamente correcto y apropiado que hagamos tal cosa.

Pero, en un sentido más amplio, nosotros no podemos dedicar, no podemos consagrar, no podemos santificar este terreno. Los valientes hombres, vivos y muertos, que lucharon aquí ya lo han consagrado, muy por encima de lo que nuestras pobres facultades podrían añadir o restar. El mundo apenas advertirá y no recordará por mucho tiempo lo que aquí digamos, pero nunca podrá olvidar lo que ellos hicieron aquí. Somos, más bien, nosotros, los vivos, quienes debemos consagrarnos aquí a la tarea inconclusa que los que aquí lucharon hicieron avanzar tanto y tan noblemente. Somos más bien los vivos los que debemos consagrarnos aquí a la gran tarea que aún resta ante nosotros: que de estos muertos a los que honramos tomemos una devoción incrementada a la causa por la que ellos dieron la última medida colmada de celo. Que resolvamos aquí firmemente que estos muertos no habrán dado su vida en vano. Que esta nación, Dios mediante, tendrá un nuevo nacimiento de libertad. Y que el gobierno del pueblo, por el pueblo y para el pueblo no desaparecerá de la Tierra.


Восемь десятков и семь лет назад наши отцы образовали на этом континенте новую нацию, зачатую в свободе и верящую в то, что все люди рождены равными.

Теперь мы ведем великую Гражданскую войну, подвергающую нашу нацию или любую другую нацию, таким же образом зачатую и исповедующую те же идеалы, испытанию на способность выстоять. Мы встречаемся сегодня на великом поле брани этой войны. Встречаемся, чтобы сделать его часть последним пристанищем для тех, кто отдал свою жизнь во имя того, чтобы наша нация смогла выжить. Со всех точек зрения это уместный и совершенно верный шаг.

Но в более широком смысле мы не можем посвящать, мы не можем благословлять, мы не можем почитать эту землю. Отважные люди, живые и мертвые, сражавшиеся здесь, уже совершили обряд такого посвящения, и не в наших слабых силах что-либо добавить или убавить. Мир едва ли заметит или запомнит надолго то, что мы здесь говорим, но он не сможет забыть того, что они совершили здесь. Скорее, это нам, живущим, следует посвятить себя завершению начатого ими дела, над которым трудились до нас с таким благородством те, кто сражался здесь. Скорее, это нам, живущим, следует посвятить себя великой задаче, все еще стоящей перед нами, — перенять у этих высокочтимых погибших еще большую приверженность тому делу, которому они в полной мере и до конца сохраняли верность, исполниться убежденностью, что они погибли не зря, что наша нация с Божьей помощью возродится в свободе и что власть народа волей народа и для народа не исчезнет с липа Земли.

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My Family

One of our evening classes, E2, recently wrote about their families. E2 is taught by Evelyn, and they usually have class in the Computer Lab. Below you can read one essay by Su Ling Zeng, and you can read more by clicking here.

Incredibles. 1

Su Ling Zeng

Class E2


My mother is Ping Qin. She is 69 years old. She has short hair and brown eyes. Her hair is a little gray. She doesn’t look like an old person. She is vital. She likes to do exercise every day. She is outgoing, warm-hearted and kind. So, my mother looks young.

My mother was born in China. She grew up in a village. She raised us very hard. She always tells us, “You should be an honest and hard-working person. If someone needs help, you should help them first.” My mother likes to cook. When she cooks good food, she will share the food with neighbors, and she likes to help others. For example, my mother’s neighbor had a baby last year. Nobody could take care of her older daughter. She knocked on the door and asked my mother. My mother said, “Don’t worry, I’ll take care of your daughter.” That time it was at 3 am!

My mother always tells us, “You should unite together. The family will be warm and affectionate.” When my mother calls us to discuss something, my sister, two brothers and I will come to my mother’s home very quickly. We visit my mother once a week at least.

My mother is retired now, but she is very busy every day. She helps me to take care of my two kids. She lives in Chinatown. She likes to eat Chinese food. Chinatown has a lot of Chinese culture. She loves it. She likes to watch Chinese shows. Sometimes, I like to go there to watch Chinese shows with my mother. I don’t feel she is my mother. I feel she is my close friend. My mother is a great mother. I will love my mother forever.

To read more stories, click here.

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Idiom of the Week: That’s the Way the Cookie Crumbles

Meaning: Said in reaction to something disappointing happening – similar to “That’s life.” Also expressed as “That’s how the cookie crumbles.


I waited in line for two hours to buy the new video game, but by the time I got inside the store, they were sold out. That’s the way the cookie crumbles.

He thought they were going to get married and spend the rest of their lives together. Last week, however, she left him for another man. That’s the way the cookie crumbles.

“I studied all night but I still got a bad grade on the test.” “That’s the way the cookie crumbles, dude.”

Pop Quiz:

You could say “That’s the way the cookie crumbles” to someone who…

A.  just got a new job.

B.  just got fired.

C.  just retired.

To see the correct answer, clock on “Continue reading”:

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